Monday, 26 September 2016

One Small Step for Edo is a GIANT Step for Nigeria

As Edo State heads to the polls this week to decide on the next Governor (#EdoDecides), I enthusiastically advise and encourage everyone with a PVC to go out and vote. It is not just a civic duty, it is your right.

I have heard it said that trust is the most expensive currency in the world. Its value is difficult to determine and when it is lost, extremely difficult to regain. If you have ever been in a relationship with a dishonest person, you probably have a good understanding of the importance of trust. When someone betrays your trust, it becomes very difficult to fully trust them again. It is the same in every human relationship and elections are no different.

An election is the democratic process of selecting a person to occupy public office for a stipulated period of time and serve the people (electorate) by governing them.
The definition of democracy (a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people) implies that the people (electorate) decide who occupies public office by voting the candidate/ party whose manifesto best represents the needs of the majority. Put simply, elections are supposed to be a reflection of the will of the people.
The essence of public office is service and this is only possible when the aspirants to public office are elected by the majority they seek to govern.  Without the  election process,  occupants of public office become dictators.

In every election on the African continent, the question of transparency always comes up in deciding exactly how well the will of the electorate is exerted. Some elections have been adjudged to be free and fair, some others have been marred by violence as well as claims of electoral fraud. In elections, fraud or rigging is sometimes the only way to ensure a desired result that negates the will of the people. Electoral fraud, election manipulation and vote rigging is illegal interference with the process of an election. The ease with which elections are rigged is enabled by a number of factors including misuse of executive powers, a weak legislature, interference with opposition campaigns, etc.
It is possible to successfully rig an election but the repercussions are far reaching and harmful to the elected and the electorate.

In 2010, Laurent Gbagbo was declared winner of the Presidential elections in Cote d'Ivorie - the first such elections in 10 years. 

Opposition candidate Alassan Ouattara and a number of international interests were of the opinion that the election was rigged and what followed was over 4 months of violence including international military intervention that ended in several hundred deaths and the eventual arrest and trial of Laurent Gbagbo and his wife by the International Criminal Court (ICC). 
On September 20, 2016, the Democratic Republic of Congo erupted into violent anti-government protests amidst speculation that incumbent President Joseph Kabila wanted to illegally extend his second term in office till 2018.

These examples are clear pointers to the dangers of rigging elections. Sadly, the worst case scenarios often happen in Africa. Nigeria has been fortunate since the return of democracy in 1999 not to witness any prolonged violence over the conduct of elections. Without a doubt, there have been legal battles over the legitimacy of some elections and court rulings overturning the decisions of the Electoral Commission. In some areas, the process has been relatively peaceful without the prolonged violence and bloodshed that characterised the examples mentioned earlier.

This is not to say that Nigerian elections have always been fair and violence free.
Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawal Shehu on Saturday confirmed that hoodlums snatched five ballot boxes in the May, 2016 elections in Ugwar ward. (Source: The 2016 rerun election in Imo North senatorial district and the Bayelsa governorship rerun were also reportedly characterized by electoral irregularities. Incidents like this must be eliminated completely through stronger legislation and enforcement, continued voter education and foolproof preparation for elections.
While it is easy for a political party with strong financial backing to manipulate the election process, Nigerians are blessed with a strong example of political leadership to follow. The Presidential election in 2015 that ousted President Goodluck Jonathan is adjudged to have been the best in recent history. This proved to the world that it is possible to have free, fair and violence free elections in Africa. President Goodluck Jonathan is reported to have said that no election is worth the life of any Nigerian, a stand that increased his worth in the eyes of the international community.

When a person or party rigs an election, they have to invest a lot of money and political capital in maintaining the fictional legitimacy of their win.  When an election is rigged, they have to suppress a lot of evidence and voices of dissent.


History has shown that people who manipulate the electoral process never get away with their fraud. In the best case scenario, it catches up with them and costs them their freedom. At times, the price paid for rigging is fatal, costing the perpetrators their lives.
The shame of discovery never completely leaves the fraudulent politician. It hangs over them as long as they live and even after their demise it clanks behind them in the history books.

I'd like to wish all 19 candidates including Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Godwin Obaseki, Osaro Onaiwu Amos Arologbe, Ishaka Ofemile, Thompson Osadolor, Thomas Sadoh, Akhalamhe Amiemenoghena, Omorogieva Gbajumo, Shadrach Efogie, Nurudeen Iwanefero, Tobi Adeniyi, Cosmos Irabor, David Okoror, Richard Oronsaye and Mrs. Ebun Agol all the best in the upcoming Edo gubernatorial election and on behalf of every Nigerian, it is also necessary to remind the contestants that the election is not a do or die affair. You must not give in to any temptation to thwart the will of the people by rigging the elections or instigating violence.

No election is worth the life of one Nigerian.

You can keep in touch with me via the following medium:
Twitter: @IdahosaLaurie
Instagram: @IdahosaLaurie
Facebook: Laurie Idahosa

#EdoDecides #Election #Rigging #Governor #INEC #Nigeria


  1. Proverbs 9: 17-18 says " STOLEN WATER IS SWEET, FOOD EATEN IN SECRET IS DELICIOUS BUT LITTLE DO THEY KNOW THAT THE DEAD ARE THERE, THAT HER GUESTS ARE DEEP IN THE RELAM OF THE DEAD". I just hope and pray the will of the people reflects in the outcome of this election tomorrow.
    I hope you are also going to vote @idahosalaurie?


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